Benoit, a native of Bordeaux, also arrived in Napa Valley in the mid-2000s, having graduated from L’Université de Bordeaux with master’s degrees in Chemistry and Oenology. Like Scott, he had more promising and secure opportunities elsewhere, but they didn’t present the challenge or change he was looking for. With the advice and help of his good friend and mentor, the renowned wine consultant Michel Rolland, he moved to Napa Valley and soon landed an internship with winemaking consultant Andy Erickson.
Benoit’s three-month internship eventually turned into a full-time position, and for the next few years – except for a harvest spent in South Africa – he worked side by side with Andy making wine for prestigious brands such as Dalla Valle, Ovid, and Screaming Eagle. It was a fantastic opportunity, one that allowed him to explore the diversity of vineyards throughout Napa Valley. In 2007, anxious to strike out on his own, Benoit formed his own consulting business. One of his first clients was Hartwell Estate Vineyards.